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Cablegate: Outside Defense Ministry, Brazilian Officials

VZCZCXRO5034
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #0099/01 0171222
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 171222Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0874
INFO RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 7620
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 5708
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 1495
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000099

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA AND PM

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2018
TAGS: MARR MASS PREL PTER BR
SUBJECT: OUTSIDE DEFENSE MINISTRY, BRAZILIAN OFFICIALS
EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT DCA

REF: STATE 3557

Classified By: AMBASSADOR CLIFFORD SOEL, REASONS 1.4 (B) and (D)

1. (C) Summary. I separate meetings, the Ambassador
discussed the roposed Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA)
withMinistry of External Relations (MRE) Under Secretay for
Political Affairs Everton Vargas and Long-erm Planning
Minister Roberto Managabeira Unger. Although Minister of
Defense Jobim and other levels at the MOD continue to
strongly support the proposal both Vargas and Unger expressed
concern with the proposal and indicated it would be a
sensitive and potentially controversial initiative to move
through the GOB. Post does not intend to press for response,
but will continue to monitor GOB reaction as discussions
continue. End summary.

2. (C) During a broad-ranging meeting with Vargas on January
11 (septel), the Ambassador provided a copy of a draft
Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), per reftel. Despite a
long series of discussions between USG officials and the
Brazilian Ministry of Defense (MOD), as well as informal
discussions with MRE at the working level on the issue,
Vargas was clearly surprised. He said the Ambassador must
understand that, from the MRE's point of view, "we are
starting at square zero" on a DCA. The Ambassador reminded
Vargas that he had discussed this issue with Brazilian
Ambassador to the United States Antonio Patriota, and that it
was he who had suggested that the Ambassador should approach
the MOD directly. Vargas responded that there would have to
be a decision by Secretary General (Vice Minister) Samuel
Guimaraes and FM Amorim to enter into discussions with the
MOD, and that it was "a very delicate" issue.

3. (C) Informed that a diplomatic note would be coming to him
shortly with the official proposal for a DCA, Vargas
suggested that it would be better to allow him to work the
issue informally. (Note: The diplomatic note was delivered
on January 14. End note.) He repeated that it was a very
delicate and sensitive issue, and that he was concerned that
a formal proposal of the DCA via diplomatic note would either
receive a quick rejection, or no answer. Vargas said his
concern was that he did not want Washington to misinterpret
such a reaction as indicative of Brazilian interest in
continuing to develop the strong bilateral relationship and
progress we are making in other areas.

4. (C) In a January 14 meeting with the Ambassador (who was
accompanied by PolCouns, DATT, and MLO Chief) that touched on
defense cooperation and other possible areas of bilateral
cooperation (septel), Unger also voiced concern about a DCA,
following up comments he had made to DOD officials who
provided him a briefing in Cambridge on December 11 at his
request regarding defense cooperation issues. (Note: Unger
is heading up an inter-agency effort to revamp Brazil's
national defense strategy. End note.) Unger said that he
understood the value of the DCA as a "legal facilitator," but
felt such a document would "create tremendous commotion for a
lot of legal boiler plate." He felt it would be perceived as
an effort to move Brazil closer to the United States, and
therefore would require an expenditure of an enormous amount
of political capital. He worried that it would create
enormous controversy within the GOB and, if it were signed,
would generate controversy outside the government. Saying he
could not discuss the details, he insisted that the issue "is
more complicated than it seems" and suggested the USG should
understand that there is a "higher level of complexity" in
the GOB on this issue. Furthermore, he felt that, if the GOB
were to sign the agreement quickly, it would not necessarily
be a good sign, but might well signal that more ambitious
possibilities for cooperation had effectively been taken off
the table. Either way, the expenditure of political capital
to achieve the agreement, might well make it more difficult
to advance substantive cooperation in areas of greater
importance, both in defense and non-defense areas.

5. (C) Comment: The initial negative reaction from Vargas to
the proposed DCA was not unexpected. Minister Jobim and
other MOD contacts continue to strongly support the
initiative, but Vargas' specific mention of Guimaraes, the
most hostile among senior GOB officials to closer ties with
the United States, combined with Unger's caution, suggests
that the matter will be the subject of significant high-level
debate within the GOB. There are many in the MRE and among
senior policy makers who remain wary of closer relations with
the United States, and especially the U.S. military. MOD
officials will need sufficient time to make their case that a

BRASILIA 00000099 002 OF 002


DCA is a standard, operational agreement between friendly
countries that is in Brazil's interest to sign. As a result,
post does not intend to press for an immediate response, but
will take soundings at various levels of the GOB over the
next few weeks and seek to gauge how views are developing,
while reiterating our view that a DCA would provide an
important framework for pursuing further cooperation.

SOBEL

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